Tagrobe and gavel

Robe & Gavel: Federal Judicial Vacancy Count released for June 1

Welcome to the June 14 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

It is June, fair readers, and you know what that means—strawberries are ripening in the garden and we are in the heat of SCOTUS’ opinion season. Let’s grab a bushel and gavel in, shall we? 

Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Noteworthy court announcements

Here’s a quick roundup of the court’s noteworthy announcements since the May 9 edition of Robe & Gavel:

Court allows counting of undated Pennsylvania ballots after Justice Alito puts counting on hold

  • June 9: 2022: In Ritter v. Migliori, the court denied an emergency application to stay, or put on hold, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision allowing Pennsylvania elections officials to count undated mail-in ballots. The court overruled the stay that Justice Samuel Alito granted on May 31 before he referred the application to the full court. Justice Alito dissented from the court’s June 9 order and was joined in his dissent by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.

David Ritter, a 2021 Republican candidate for Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas, Pennsylvania, brought the case, which concerns a Pennsylvania law requiring voters to sign and date their mail-in ballots. Ritter petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for review after the 3rd Circuit ordered Lehigh County to count more than 250 undated ballots. Ritter’s emergency stay application said counting those ballots would “likely eras[e] Ritter’s 71-vote lead.”

Grants

SCOTUS has accepted three new cases to its merits docket since our previous issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear 17 cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases:

Arguments

The Supreme Court has finished hearing arguments for its 2021-2022 term. During the term, the court accepted 66 cases for oral argument. It heard 61 cases after four cases were dismissed and one case was removed from the argument calendar. The court’s 2022-2023 term is scheduled to begin on Oct. 3, 2022.

Opinions

SCOTUS has ruled on 13 cases since our May 9 edition. The court has issued rulings in 40 cases so far this term. Three cases were decided without argument. 

Click the links below to read more about the specific cases SCOTUS ruled on since May 9:

May 2

May 16

May 23

June 6

June 8

June 13

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • June 15: SCOTUS will release opinions.
  • June 16: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.
  • June 21: SCOTUS will issue orders.
  • June 23: SCOTUS will conference.
  • June 27: SCOTUS will issue orders.

The Federal Vacancy Count

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. 

The May report covers nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from May 2 through June 1

Highlights

  • Vacancies: There were five new judicial vacancies in April. There were 75 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions. Including the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. territorial courts, 77 of 890 active federal judicial positions were vacant.  
  • Nominations: There were three new nominations. 
  • Confirmations: There were six new confirmations.

Vacancy count for June 1, 2022

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies in the federal courts, click here.

*Though the United States territorial courts are named as district courts, they are not Article III courts. They are created in accordance with the power granted under Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Click here for more information.

New vacancies

Five judges left active status since the previous report, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. The president nominates individuals to fill Article III judicial positions. Nominations are subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies in the United States Courts of Appeals from the inauguration of President Joe Biden (D) to the date indicated on the chart.

U.S. District Court vacancies

The following map shows the number of vacancies in the United States District Courts as of June 1, 2022.

New nominations

President Biden announced three new nominations during the month of May.


The president has announced 96 Article III judicial nominations since taking office Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

New confirmations

The U.S. Senate confirmed six nominees since our previous report. 

As of June 1, 2022, the Senate had confirmed 66 of President Biden’s judicial nominees—49 district court judges, 16 appeals court judges, and one Supreme Court justice.

Comparison of Article III judicial appointments over time by president (1981-Present)

  • Presidents have appointed an average of 50 judges through June 1 of their second year in office.
  • Biden made the most appointments through June 1 of his second year with 66, followed by President Bill Clinton (D) with 59. President Barack Obama (D) made the fewest with 26.
  • President Donald Trump (R) made the most appointments through four years with 234. President Reagan made the fewest through four years with 166.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on this list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on July 11 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Kate Carsella compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Brittony Maag and Sara Reynolds.



Robe & Gavel: Federal Judicial Vacancy Count released for May 1

Welcome to the May 9 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

Fear not, dear reader, that the end of oral arguments at the high court means no more SCOTUS action until next term. On the contrary–the justices are busy conferencing, granting new cases, and issuing opinions. So don’t retire your gavel—or your reading glasses—just yet. Our newsletter is here to keep you in the loop. This edition also features a rundown of our latest judicial vacancy data, so take a seat, grab those glasses, and gavel in to our May 9 edition.

Stay up to date on the latest news by following Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS has accepted three new cases since our last edition. To date, the court has agreed to hear 14 cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

May 2

  • Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County, Indiana v. Talevski concerns a private plaintiff’s ability to sue an entity for allegedly violating laws Congress passed using its spending clause power in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. It came to the court from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. The petitioners presented two questions to the court: “1. Whether, in light of compelling historical evidence to the contrary, the Court should reexamine its holding that Spending Clause legislation gives rise to privately enforceable rights under Section 1983. 2. Whether, assuming Spending Clause statutes ever give rise to private rights enforceable via Section 1983, FNHRA’s transfer and medication rules do so.”
  • Bartenwerfer v. Buckley concerns a bankruptcy debtor’s liability for another individual’s fraud, even if the debtor was unaware of the fraud. The question presented to the court asks: “May an individual be subject to liability for the fraud of another that is barred from discharge in bankruptcy under 11 U.S.C. (the “Bankruptcy Code”) § 523(a)(2)(A), by imputation, without any act, omission, intent or knowledge of her own?” The case originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
  • Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. v. Hewitt concerns the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and 29 CFR § 541.601, which provides that certain high-earning employees are not entitled to overtime pay under the FLSA. The question the court will decide is: “Whether a supervisor making over $200,000 each year is entitled to overtime pay because the standalone regulatory exemption set forth in 29 C.F.R. §541.601 remains subject to the detailed requirements of 29 C.F.R. §541.604 when determining whether highly compensated supervisors are exempt from the FLSA’s overtime-pay requirements.” The case came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Arguments

The Supreme Court has finished hearing arguments for its 2021-2022 term. During the term, the court accepted 66 cases for oral argument. It heard 61 cases after four cases were dismissed and one case was removed from the argument calendar. The court’s 2022-2023 term is scheduled to begin on October 3, 2022.

Opinions

SCOTUS has issued three rulings since our April 25 edition. The court has decided 27 cases so far this term, three of which were decided without argument. 

April 28

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court’s majority opinion. Justice Stephen Breyer filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett recused herself because as a judge on the 7th Circuit she was part of the panel who decided the case. 

May 2

  • In Shurtleff v. City of Boston, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit’s ruling in a 9-0 decision. The court found that the city of Boston violated the First Amendment when it denied a Christian group’s application to fly a Christian flag in front of city hall. Writing for the majority, Justice Breyer stated that, “[O]n balance, Boston did not make the raising and flying of private groups’ flags a form of government speech. That means, in turn, that Boston’s refusal to let Shurtleff and Camp Constitution raise their flag based on its religious viewpoint ‘abridg[ed]’ their ‘freedom of speech.’ “

Justice Bryer delivered the majority opinion. Justice Brett Kavanaugh filed a concurring opinion, and Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch wrote opinions concurring in the judgment.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • May 12: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 
  • May 16: SCOTUS will issue orders.
  • May 19: SCOTUS will conference.
  • May 23: SCOTUS will issue orders.
  • May 26: SCOTUS will conference.
  • May 31: SCOTUS will issue orders.

The Federal Vacancy Count

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. 

The April report covers nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from April 2 through May 1. 

Highlights

  • Vacancies: There were four new judicial vacancies in April. There were 75 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions. Including the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. territorial courts, 77 of 890 active federal judicial positions were vacant.  
  • Nominations: There were 10 new nominations. 
  • Confirmations: There were two new confirmations.

Vacancy count for May 1, 2022

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies in the federal courts, click here.

*Though the U.S. territorial courts are named as district courts, they are not Article III courts. They are established by Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Click here for more information.

New vacancies

Four judges left active status since the previous report, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. The president nominates individuals to fill Article III judicial positions. Nominations are subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies in the United States Courts of Appeals from the inauguration of President Joe Biden (D) to the date indicated on the chart.

U.S. District Court vacancies

The following map shows the number of vacancies in the United States District Courts as of May 1, 2022.

New nominations

President Joe Biden (D) announced 10 new nominations during the month of April.

Biden has announced 93 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

New confirmations

The U.S. Senate confirmed two nominees since our previous report. 

As of May 1, 2022, the Senate had confirmed 60 of President Biden’s judicial nominees—44 district court judges, 15 appeals court judges, and one Supreme Court justice.

Comparison of Article III judicial appointments over time by president (1981-Present)

  • Presidents have appointed an average of 44 judges through May 1 of their second year in office.
  • Biden made the most appointments through May 1 of his second year with 60, followed by President Ronald Reagan (R) with 58. President Barack Obama (D) made the fewest with 21.
  • President Donald Trump (R) made the most appointments through four years with 234. President Reagan made the fewest through four years with 166.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on this list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on June 7 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Brittony Maag compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Kate Carsella and Sara Reynolds.



Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS concludes arguments for 2021-2022 term

Welcome to the April 25 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

In another installment of where has the time gone, we have reached the final week of SCOTUS’ April argument sitting—and the final argument week of its 2021-2022 term. This week also marks the end of Justice Stephen Breyer’s nearly three-decade career hearing arguments from the Supreme Court bench, with his retirement slated for the start of the court’s summer recess in late June or early July. Gavel in and read on for summaries of this week’s arguments and the court’s newly granted cases and released opinions.

Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS has accepted two cases since our April 18 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear 11 cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

April 25

  • Reed v. Goertz came to the court from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. The case concerns a split between the U.S. circuit courts on when the statute of limitations begins to run for a state criminal defendant to file a federal claim for DNA testing of crime-scene evidence. 

The court will consider the following question: “[W]hether the statute of limitations for a § 1983 claim seeking DNA testing of crime-scene evidence begins to run at the end of state court litigation denying DNA testing, including any appeals (as the Eleventh Circuit has held), or whether it begins to run at the moment the state trial court denies DNA testing, despite any subsequent appeal (as the Fifth Circuit, joining the Seventh Circuit, held below).”

The petitioner presented the court with this question: “Whether the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits a state from requiring a corporation to consent to personal jurisdiction to do business in the state.”

In the current 2021-2022 term, the court agreed to hear 66 cases.

Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in five cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

April 25

April 26

  • Biden v. Texas involves the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) and the constraints that federal immigration laws place on executive policy discretion. The case concerns whether the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ended the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program in a way that was consistent with federal immigration law and the APA. The MPP program required certain noncitizens who attempted to reside in the United States to wait in Mexico while immigration officials processed their cases.
  • Shoop v. Twyford concerns federal district courts’ authority to issue transportation orders to state-run prisons for state prisoners involved in federal habeas corpus proceedings.

April 27

In its October 2020 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 62 cases. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ previous term.

Opinions

SCOTUS has issued five opinions since our April 18 edition. The court has ruled in 24 cases so far this term, three of which were decided without argument. 

March 21

Justice Clarence Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett.

  • In Cassirer v. Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, the court vacated—or voided—the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s ruling. The case involved a dispute over a Camille Pissarro painting the Nazis illegally took from the Cassirer family in 1939. The painting moved between private parties until the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation (TBC), a subsidiary of the Kingdom of Spain, obtained the painting in 1993. The Cassirer family subsequently sued TBC in U.S. district court for the painting’s return.

The question before the Supreme Court was procedural: What law should govern when a plaintiff brings a lawsuit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 against a foreign government or an entity related to the government? In a unanimous 9-0 decision, the court held that when such a case involves non-federal claims, trial courts should apply the same law as they would apply in a lawsuit against a private, non-governmental party. In this case, that meant the state’s choice-of-law rule, not a federal common law rule, governed.

Justice Elena Kagan delivered the court’s opinion.

  • In Brown v. Davenport, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit’s ruling. A Michigan state court convicted Ervine Davenport of first degree murder after a trial in which he had been visibly shackled. He appealed his conviction based on the visible shackling. After getting no relief at the state-court level, Davenport filed a federal habeas corpus petition.

In a 6-3 opinion, SCOTUS ruled the 6th Circuit erred when it granted Davenport’s habeas corpus petition based solely on the test SCOTUS established in  Brecht v. Abrahamson (1993). The court held that the circuit court should have applied both the Brecht test and the test Congress enacted in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

Justice Gorsuch wrote the majority opinion. Justice Kagan filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Sotomayor.

Justice Kavanaugh delivered the court’s opinion. Justice Sotomayor wrote a dissent.

Justice Barrett wrote the court’s opinion.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • April 25: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • April 26: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • April 27: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • April 29: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 
  • May 2: SCOTUS will issue opinions.

SCOTUS trivia

Among the court’s current members, who is the longest-serving Supreme Court justice?

  1. Stephen Breyer
  2. Clarence Thomas
  3. Sonia Sotomayor
  4. John Roberts

Choose an answer to find out!

Federal court action

Nominations

President Joe Biden (D) has not announced any new Article III nominees since our April 18 edition.

To date, the president has announced 88 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has not voted on any Article III nominees since our previous edition.

Confirmations

The Senate has not confirmed any new nominees since our previous edition. As of this writing, 59 of President Biden’s Article III nominees have been confirmed since he assumed office.

Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 77 vacancies, 75 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of this writing, there are 19 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 35 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during the Biden administration, click here.

Note: This chart is updated at the start of each month with the latest vacancy data from U.S. Courts

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on May 9 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Brittony Maag compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Kate Carsella and Sara Reynolds.



SCOTUS begins April sitting

Welcome to the April 18 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

We’re hopeful the justices filed their taxes early this year, as tax day kicks off SCOTUS’ final argument sitting of the 2021-2022 term. The five cases this week touch on workers’ compensation, bankruptcy, administrative and civil procedure, and the Fifth Amendment. For that and more, let’s gavel in!

Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS has not accepted any new cases since our April 11 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear nine cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

In the current 2021-2022 term, the court has agreed to hear 66 cases.

Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in five cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

April 18

  • United States v. Washington concerns state workers’ compensation laws and intergovernmental immunity. 
  • Siegel v. Fitzgerald concerns the constitutionality of a federal law that imposes different fees on Chapter 11 debtors based on the district in which the debtors file bankruptcy.

April 19

  • George v. McDonough concerns a veteran’s ability to challenge the Department of Veterans Affairs’ regulatory decisions in certain circumstances.
  • Kemp v. United States concerns the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governing court procedure in civil cases and Supreme Court Rule 13.3.

April 20

  • Vega v. Tekoh concerns Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination, specifically related to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Miranda v. Arizona (1966). 

In its October 2020 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 62 cases. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ previous term.

Opinions

SCOTUS has not issued any opinions since our April 11 edition. The court has issued rulings in 19 cases so far this term, three of which were decided without argument. 

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • April 18: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • April 19: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • April 20: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • April 22: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 

SCOTUS trivia

The number of justices on the Supreme Court has fluctuated since the U.S. Senate established the court in 1789. In what year did the Senate set the number of Supreme Court justices at nine?

  1. 1837
  2. 1869
  3. 1922
  4. 1966

Choose an answer to find out!

Federal court action

Nominations

President Joe Biden (D) has announced five new Article III nominees since our April 11 edition.

The president has announced 88 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has not voted on any Article III nominees since our April 18 edition.

Confirmations

The Senate has not confirmed any new nominees since our previous edition. As of this writing, 59 of President Biden’s Article III nominees have been confirmed since he assumed office.

Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 76 vacancies, 74 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of this writing, there are 19 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 33 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during the Biden administration, click here.

Note: This chart is updated at the start of each month with the latest vacancy data from U.S. Courts

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on April 25 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Brittony Maag compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Kate Carsella and Sara Reynolds.



Robe & Gavel: Federal Judicial Vacancy Count released for April 1

Welcome to the April 11 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

In the ever-changing landscape of the federal judiciary, new confirmations outpaced vacancies in March. President Joe Biden (D) leads all presidents since 1981 in successful Article III appointments through this point in a presidency. SCOTUS has also been active, with new cases granted for argument and new opinions issued—and the confirmation of a new justice. Want to know more? Gavel in and read on.

Stay up to date on the latest news by following Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Ketanji Brown Jackson confirmation

On April 7, the U.S. Senate confirmed Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be the next U.S. Supreme Court justice by a vote of 53-47. President Biden nominated Jackson on February 28, 2022, to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer, who plans to retire at the beginning of the court’s summer recess in late June or early July. Upon her swearing in, Jackson will become the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court. 

Prior to her confirmation, Jackson served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and, before that, on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in government, magna cum laude, and a J.D., cum laude, from Harvard University in 1992 and 1996, respectively.

Grants

SCOTUS has accepted three new cases since our last issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear nine cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

  • National Pork Producers Council v. Ross concerns the constitutionality of the conditions California’s Proposition 12 imposes on pork producers nationwide so that they can sell pork in California. It came to the court from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The petitioners presented two questions to the court: “1. Whether allegations that a state law has dramatic economic effects largely outside of the state and requires pervasive changes to an integrated nationwide industry state a violation of the dormant Commerce Clause, or whether the extraterritoriality principle described in this Court’s decisions is now a dead letter. 2. Whether such allegations, concerning a law that is based solely on preferences regarding out-of-state housing of farm animals, state a Pike claim.”
  • Cruz v. Arizona concerns the proper application of U.S. Supreme Court precedent during state capital cases’ sentencing and appellate review. The question presented to the court is: “Whether the Arizona Supreme Court’s holding that Arizona Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1(g) precluded post-conviction relief is an adequate and independent state-law ground for the judgment.” The case originated from the Arizona Supreme Court.
  • Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. v. Goldsmith concerns the definition of a transformative work for purposes of the fair use defense under federal copyright law. The question the court will decide is: “What does it mean for a work of art to be ‘transformative’ as a matter of law under the Copyright Act?” The case came from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

Arguments

The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments this week. The court is scheduled to begin hearing arguments for its April sitting—the last sitting of the term—on April 18. The court will hear arguments in the term’s final 10 cases between April 18 and April 27. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Opinions

SCOTUS has issued two rulings since our March 28 edition. The court has decided 11 cases so far this term, two of which were decided without argument. To date, 40 cases argued before the court this term remain undecided.

March 31

Justice Elena Kagan authored the court’s majority opinion. Justice Stephen Breyer filed a dissenting opinion.

April 4

  • In Thompson v. Clark, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit’s ruling in a 6-3 decision. The court found that a plaintiff suing for malicious prosecution under the Fourth Amendment is not required to show the plaintiff’s criminal prosecution ended with a not guilty verdict. Rather, the favorable termination rule requires only that such prosecution ended in an outcome other than a conviction, such as a prosecutor dismissing the charges.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh delivered the majority opinion. Justice Samuel Alito dissented, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • April 14: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.
  • April 18: SCOTUS will begin its April argument sitting.

The Federal Vacancy Count

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. 

The March report covers nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from March 2 through April 1. 

Highlights

  • Vacancies: There were four new judicial vacancies in February. There were 72 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions. Including the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. territorial courts, 74 of 890 active federal judicial positions were vacant.  
  • Nominations: There were no new nominations. 
  • Confirmations: There were 12 new confirmations.

Vacancy count for April 1, 2022

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies in the federal courts, click here.

*Though the U.S. territorial courts are named as district courts, they are not Article III courts. They are established by Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Click here for more information.

New vacancies

Four judges left active status since the previous report, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. The president nominates individuals to fill Article III judicial positions. Nominations are subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies in the United States Courts of Appeals from the inauguration of President Joe Biden (D) to the date indicated on the chart.

U.S. District Court vacancies

The following map shows the number of vacancies in the United States District Courts as of April 1, 2022.

New nominations

President Joe Biden (D) announced no new nominations during the month of March.

Biden has announced 83 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

New confirmations

The U.S. Senate confirmed 12 nominees during the month of March. 

As of April 1, 2022, the Senate had confirmed 58 of President Biden’s judicial nominees—43 district court judges and 15 appeals court judges. This count does not include Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the Supreme Court on April 7.

Comparison of Article III judicial appointments over time by president (1981-Present)

  • Presidents have appointed an average of 39 judges through April 1 of their second year in office.
  • Biden made the most appointments through April 1 of his second year with 58, followed by President Ronald Reagan (R) with 54. President Barack Obama (D) made the fewest with 19.
  • President Donald Trump (R) made the most appointments through four years with 234. President Reagan made the fewest through four years with 166.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on this list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on April 18 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Brittony Maag compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Kate Carsella and Sara Reynolds.



Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS enters second week of March sitting

Welcome to the March 28 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

It’s planes, trains, and…boats at the Supreme Court this week as Southwest Airlines, Union Pacific Railroad Company, and Viking River Cruises are parties in three of the cases being argued to close out the court’s March argument sitting. This and much more await us below, so grab your gavel and dive on in.

Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS has granted three cases since our March 21 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear nine cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

In the current 2021-2022 term, the court has agreed to hear 66 cases.

March 28

Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in four cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

March 28

March 29

March 30

In its October 2020 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 62 cases. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ previous term.

Opinions

SCOTUS has issued three new opinions since our March 21 edition. The court has issued rulings in 17 cases so far this term, three of which were decided without argument. 

March 23

  • In Wisconsin Legislature v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, SCOTUS reversed the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision to enact Gov. Tony Evers’ (D) state house and senate redistricting maps, and it sent the case back to state court for further proceedings. The case came to the court on an emergency basis when the Wisconsin Legislature filed an appeal with SCOTUS to stop the state supreme court’s ruling from going into effect. SCOTUS issued its opinion without hearing arguments in the case.

In an unsigned per curiam opinion, the court held that the Wisconsin Supreme Court erred in its analysis of federal precedent on the Voting Rights Act and Equal Protection Clause as applied to race-based districting cases. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, joined by Justice Elena Kagan. Click here to read more about the opinion.

March 24

  • Ramirez v. Collier came to the court from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. The case concerns the limits state prison officials can place on a prisoner’s request for spiritual aid during an execution. In an 8-1 ruling, the court reversed the 5th Circuit’s decision that a state prison can prevent a prisoner’s spiritual advisor from touching the prisoner and audibly praying in the execution chamber. The court found that when these acts are part of the prisoner’s sincerely held religious beliefs, the prison must reasonably accommodate these requests. Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the court’s opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a dissenting opinion.
  • Houston Community College System v. Wilson also originated from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. The case concerns free speech protections and an elected governing body’s authority to censure a member for their speech. In a unanimous 9-0 decision, the court reversed the 5th Circuit’s ruling that Houston Community College’s Board of Trustees violated board member Wilson’s right to free speech when it censured him for his actions. The court noted that local elected boards commonly use the power of censure on its members, and censure itself is a form of speech. Under the case’s specific set of facts, the court found that censure did not violate Wilson’s rights. Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the court’s opinion.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • March 28: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 29: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • March 30: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • March 31: SCOTUS will issue opinions.
  • April 1: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 
  • April 4: SCOTUS will issue orders.

SCOTUS trivia

Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court’s newest justice, was nominated to the court on Sept. 29, 2020. How many days passed between her nomination and her Senate confirmation?

  1. 42 days
  2. 91 days
  3. 27 days
  4. 16 days

Choose an answer to find out!

Federal court action

Nominations

President Joe Biden (D) has not announced any new Article III nominees since our March 21 edition.

The president has announced 83 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has not voted on any Article III nominees since our March 21 edition.

The committee held four days of confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson over the past week, from March 21 through March 24. It is scheduled to vote on Jackson’s nomination on April 4. If the committee reports Jackson favorably, her nomination will advance to the full U.S. Senate for a confirmation vote. Click here to learn more about the committee hearings.

Confirmations

The Senate has confirmed 10 new nominees since our previous edition. As of this writing, 56 of President Biden’s Article III nominees have been confirmed since he assumed office.

Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 74 vacancies, 72 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of this writing, there were 21 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 37 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during the Biden administration, click here.

Note: This chart is updated at the start of each month with the latest vacancy data from U.S. Courts

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on April 11 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Brittony Maag compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Kate Carsella and Sara Reynolds.



Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS concludes February sitting

Welcome to the March 21 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

Having survived both the Ides of March and a return to daylight saving time, we’re back this week for the start of SCOTUS’ March sitting. The cases this week will ask the court to resolve an arbitration-related circuit split, consider the state’s role in defending a voter identification law, interpret international law in cross-border child abductions, and establish the district courts’ authority in certain arbitration proceedings. Let’s gavel in to find out more.

Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS has not accepted any new cases since our March 7 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear six cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

In the current 2021-2022 term, the court has agreed to hear 66 cases.

Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in four cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

March 21

March 22

  • Golan v. Saada concerns the interpretation of international law when a minor child is abducted across national borders during a domestic dispute. Click here to learn more about the case’s background. 

March 23

  • ZF Automotive US, Inc. v. Luxshare, Ltd. (consolidated with AlixPartners, LLC v. Fund for Protection of Investor Rights in Foreign States) concerns U.S. district courts’ authority to compel parties to produce evidence in private arbitration for foreign or international tribunals. Click here to learn more about the cases’ backgrounds. 

In its October 2020 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 62 cases. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ previous term.

Opinions

SCOTUS has not issued any new opinions since our March 7 edition. The court has issued rulings in 14 cases so far this term, two of which were decided without argument. 

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • March 21: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 22: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • March 23: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • March 25: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 

SCOTUS trivia

Eight of the nine current Supreme Court justices attended law school at either Harvard or Yale. Which justice did not attend law school at either one of these institutions?

  1. Elena Kagan
  2. Brett Kavanaugh
  3. Samuel Alito
  4. Amy Coney Barrett

Choose an answer to find out!

Federal court action

Nominations

President Joe Biden (D) has not announced any new Article III nominees since our March 7 edition.

The president has announced 83 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted on six Article III nominees since our March 7 edition. The committee voted favorably on five of those nominees, and they await a Senate confirmation vote. Those nominees are:

The committee tied 10-10 on the vote to advance Kenly Kiya Kato’s nomination for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to the full Senate. Because the committee did not report Kato’s nomination favorably, any senator may make a motion on the Senate floor to discharge the nomination from the committee and the U.S. Senate may discharge her nomination on a majority vote. If the Senate successfully discharges the nomination, it can proceed to a vote on confirmation.

Confirmations

The Senate has confirmed no new nominees since our March 7 issue. As of this writing, 46 of President Biden’s Article III nominees have been confirmed since he assumed office.

Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 80 vacancies, 78 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of this writing, there were 29 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 41 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during the Biden administration, click here.

Note: This chart is updated at the start of each month with the latest vacancy data from U.S. Courts

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on March 28 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Brittony Maag compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Kate Carsella, Jace Lington, and Sara Reynolds.



Robe & Gavel: Federal Judicial Vacancy Count released for March 1

Welcome to the March 7 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

Did March come in like a lion for you, dear reader? Well, we’re roaring with excitement this week as we travel through the vista of federal judicial vacancy data. Let’s buckle up, gavel in, and get this adventure started!

Stay up to date on the latest news by following Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribing to the Daily Brew.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS has not accepted any new cases since our Feb. 28 issue. To date, the court has agreed to hear six cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

In the current 2021-2022 term, the court has agreed to hear 66 cases. Ten have yet to be scheduled for arguments.

Arguments

The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments this week. The court is scheduled to begin hearing arguments for its March sitting on March 21. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Opinions

SCOTUS has issued five rulings since our Feb. 28 edition. The court has decided 11 cases so far this term, two of which were decided without argument.

March 3

Justice Samuel Alito authored the court’s majority opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a concurring opinion. Justice Elena Kagan filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, joined by Justice Stephen Breyer. Justice Sonia Sotomayor filed a dissenting opinion.

  • In United States v. Zubaydah, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit’s ruling on a 7-2 vote and remanded the case for further proceedings. The court decided the 9th Circuit erred in holding, in the context of Zubaydah’s discovery application, that the state-secrets privilege did not apply to information that could confirm or deny the existence of a CIA detention site in Poland.

    Justice Stephen Breyer delivered the opinion of the court except for parts Parts II-B-2 and III. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the opinion in full. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito joined Part IV. Thomas filed an opinion concurring in part and concurring in the judgment, joined by Alito. Justice Elena Kagan joined as to all but Parts III and IV and the judgment of dismissal. She also filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Justice Neil Gorsuch filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined. Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett joined as to all but Part II-B-2. Kavanaugh filed an opinion concurring in part, in which Barrett joined.

March 4

Justice Thomas delivered the majority opinion. Justice Barrett filed a concurring opinion joined by Justice Gorsuch. Justice Breyer wrote a dissenting opinion, which was joined by Justices Kagan and Sotomayor.

March 7

  • In Wooden v. United States, the court reversed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit’s holding in a 9-0 decision. The court found that William Wooden’s 10 prior burglary convictions arose from a single criminal episode in 1997, and therefore did not count as different occasions for purposes of sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

Justice Kagan delivered the court’s opinion. Justices Sotomayor, Kavanaugh, Barrett and Gorsuch each filed a concurring opinion. 

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • March 7: SCOTUS will release orders.
  • March 18: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices.
  • March 21: SCOTUS begins its March argument sitting.

SCOTUS trivia

Justice William Douglas was the longest-serving associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, with a 36-year tenure lasting from 1939 to 1975. How many chief justices did Douglas serve with?

  1. 9
  2. 5
  3. 4
  4. 7

Choose an answer to find out!

The Federal Vacancy Count

The Federal Vacancy Count tracks vacancies, nominations, and confirmations to all United States Article III federal courts in a one-month period. 

The February report covers nominations, confirmations, and vacancies from Feb. 2 through March 1. 

Highlights

  • Vacancies: There were two new judicial vacancies in February. There were 78 vacancies out of 870 active Article III judicial positions. Including the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the U.S. territorial courts, 80 of 890 active federal judicial positions were vacant.  
  • Nominations: There were two new nominations. 
  • Confirmations: There was one new confirmation.

Vacancy count for March 1, 2022

A breakdown of the vacancies at each level can be found in the table below. For a more detailed look at the vacancies in the federal courts, click here.

*Though the U.S. territorial courts are named as district courts, they are not Article III courts. They are established by Article IV of the U.S. Constitution. Click here for more information.

New vacancies

Two judges left active status since the previous report, creating Article III life-term judicial vacancies. The president nominates individuals to fill Article III judicial positions. Nominations are subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

The following chart tracks the number of vacancies in the United States Courts of Appeals from the inauguration of President Joe Biden (D) to the date indicated on the chart.

U.S. District Court vacancies

The following map shows the number of vacancies in the United States District Courts as of March 1, 2022.

New nominations

President Joe Biden (D) announced two new nominations since the January report.

Biden has announced 83 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

New confirmations

The U.S. Senate confirmed one nominee since the previous report.

As of March 1, 2022, the Senate had confirmed 46 of President Biden’s judicial nominees—32 district court judges and 14 appeals court judges.

Comparison of Article III judicial appointments over time by president (1981-Present)

  • Presidents have appointed an average of 32 judges through March 1 of their second year in office.
  • Biden made the most appointments through March 1 of his second year with 46, followed by President Ronald Reagan (R) with 44. President Barack Obama (D) made the fewest with 16.
  • President Donald Trump (R) made the most appointments through four years with 234. President Reagan made the fewest through four years with 166.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on this list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on March 21 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Brittony Maag compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Kate Carsella and Jace Lington.



Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS concludes February sitting

Welcome to the Feb. 28 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

… Did you hear something? Could it be… changing seasons approach? The first breaths of spring? One can hope. Last week, President Biden nominated U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. This week, SCOTUS concludes its February sitting, with the March argument session fast approaching. Let’s gavel in and see what’s new on the docket, shall we?

Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS has accepted three new cases to its merits docket since our Feb. 22 issue. 

On Feb. 18, the court granted review in the following cases:

The court accepted Haaland v. Brackeen (Consolidated with Cherokee Nation v. Brackeen, Texas v. Haaland, and Brackeen v. Haaland) the morning of Feb. 28. The case concerns the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), governing the removal of out-of-home placement of American Indian children, and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. 

To date, the court has agreed to hear six cases during its 2022-2023 term. The court has not yet scheduled any of the cases for argument.

In the current 2021-2022 term, the court has agreed to hear 66 cases. Ten have yet to be scheduled for arguments.

Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in four cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

Feb. 28

  • West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (Consolidated with North American Coal Corporation v. Environmental Protection Agency, Westmoreland Mining Holdings v. Environmental Protection Agency, and North Dakota v. Environmental Protection Agency) involves the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority under the Clean Air Act. Click here to learn more about the case’s background. 

March 1

  • Ruan v. United States (Consolidated with Kahn v. United States) concerns whether a physician prescribing controlled substances can be convicted for unlawful distribution of the drugs, regardless of whether the doctor believed they made the prescriptions in good faith. Click here to learn more about the cases’ background details. 
  • Marietta Memorial Hospital Employee Health Benefit Plan v. DaVita, Inc. concerns the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSPA). The MSPA prohibits group health plans from considering a plan participant’s eligibility when the individual has end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and also prohibits plans from providing different benefits to these individuals compared to other covered participants. The case also involves a circuit split over how much plans must reimburse their members for dialysis treatment costs. Click here to learn more about the case’s background. 

March 2

In its October 2020 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 62 cases. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ previous term.

Opinions

SCOTUS issued one opinion since our Feb. 22 edition. The court has issued rulings in nine cases so far this term, two of which were decided without argument. 

In Unicolors, Inc. v. H&M Hennes & Mauritz, LP, the court ruled in a 6-3 vote to vacate the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruling and remand the case for further proceedings. The court held that either a mistake of legal or factual knowledge can excuse a copyright registration inaccuracy. Justice Stephen Breyer authored the majority opinion. Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, joined by Justice Samuel Alito in full and by Justice Neil Gorsuch except for Part II.

Between 2007 and 2020, SCOTUS issued opinions in 1,062 cases, deciding an average of 70 to 90 cases per year.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • Feb. 28: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • March 1: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • March 2: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • March 3: SCOTUS is expected to issue opinions.
  • March 4: 
    • SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 
    • SCOTUS is expected to issue opinions.
  • March 7: SCOTUS will issue orders.

SCOTUS trivia

Justice Stephen Breyer was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1994 to fill the seat left vacant by Justice Harry Blackmun. From which court was Justice Breyer elevated?

  1. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  2. U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  3. U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California
  4. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Choose an answer to find out!

Federal court action

Nominations

President Joe Biden (D) has announced one new Article III nominee since our Feb. 22 edition.

On Feb. 25, 2022, President Biden announced his intent to nominate U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court, to fill the upcoming vacancy upon the retirement of Justice Stephen Breyer. If confirmed, Jackson will be the first Black woman to serve on the country’s highest judicial body.

The president has announced 83 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has reported no new nominees out of committee since our Feb. 22 edition. 

Confirmations

The Senate has confirmed no new nominees since our Feb. 22 issue. As of this writing, 46 of President Biden’s Article III nominees have been confirmed since he assumed office.

Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 80 vacancies, 78 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of this writing, there were 36 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 38 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during the Biden administration, click here.

Note: This chart is updated at the start of each month with the latest vacancy data from U.S. Courts

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Spotlight: Presidential nominations to federal courts

Hello, gentle readers! Let us return to our journey through federal judicial history. Today, we highlight President Chester A. Arthur’s (R) judicial nominees from 1881 to 1885.

During his time in office, the U.S. Senate confirmed 23 of President Arthur’s judicial nominees. One nominee withdrew and one declined their nomination.

Among the most notable appointees were two Supreme Court Justices:

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on March 7 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Kate Carsella compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Brittony Maag, Jace Lington, and Sara Reynolds.



Robe & Gavel: SCOTUS begins February sitting

Welcome to the Feb. 22 edition of Robe & Gavel, Ballotpedia’s newsletter about the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and other judicial happenings around the U.S.

With the scent of roses yet in the air and the taste of chocolates and sweet treats fresh in our memories, we come to the February argument session of the U.S. Supreme Court. Let’s gavel in, shall we?

Follow Ballotpedia on Twitter or subscribe to the Daily Brew for the latest news and analysis.

We #SCOTUS and you can, too!

Grants

SCOTUS has accepted one new case to its merits docket since our Feb. 7 issue. 

On Feb. 18, the court granted review in the case Biden v. Texas, originating from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, and concerning both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also referred to as the remain in Mexico policy, which required non-citizens seeking asylum at the United States’ southern border to remain in Mexico while awaiting their immigration proceedings. The case will be scheduled for argument during this term’s April sitting.

To date, the court has agreed to hear 66 cases for the 2021-2022 term. SCOTUS dismissed four cases after they were accepted and removed one case from the argument calendar after both parties agreed to settle. Ten cases have yet to be scheduled for arguments. The court has also accepted three cases for its 2022-2023 term.

Arguments

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in three cases this week. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ current term.

Click the links below to learn more about these cases: 

Feb. 22

  • Ysleta del Sur Pueblo v. Texas concerns the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Indian Tribes of Texas Restoration Act (1987), the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) (1988), gaming regulation on tribal lands, and the sovereign authority of Native American tribal nations. Click here to learn more about the case’s background. 
  • Denezpi v. United States involves the Court of Indian Offenses’ jurisdiction, the Fifth Amendment’s double jeopardy clause prohibiting individuals from being prosecuted for the same crime twice, and the dual-sovereignty doctrine. Click here to learn more about the case’s background. 

Feb. 23

In its October 2020 term, SCOTUS heard arguments in 62 cases. Click here to read more about SCOTUS’ previous term.

Opinions

SCOTUS has not issued opinions since our Feb. 7 edition. The court has issued rulings in eight cases so far this term, two of which were decided without argument. 

Between 2007 and 2020, SCOTUS issued opinions in 1,062 cases, deciding an average of 70 to 90 cases per year.

Upcoming SCOTUS dates

Here are the court’s upcoming dates of interest:

  • Feb. 18: SCOTUS will conference. A conference is a private meeting of the justices. 
  • Feb. 22: SCOTUS will hear arguments in two cases.
  • Feb. 23: SCOTUS will hear arguments in one case.
  • Feb. 25: SCOTUS will conference. 

SCOTUS trivia

Justice Stephen Breyer authored six majority opinions during the court’s last term. In which of the following cases did he not write the court’s opinion?

  1. Trump v. New York
  2. Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.
  3. AMG Capital Management, LLC v. Federal Trade Commission
  4. Google LLC v. Oracle America Inc.

Choose an answer to find out!

Federal court action

Nominations

President Joe Biden (D) has announced no new Article III nominees since our Feb. 7 edition.

The president has announced 82 Article III judicial nominations since taking office on Jan. 20, 2021. For more information on the president’s judicial nominees, click here.

Committee action

The Senate Judiciary Committee has reported three new nominees out of committee since our Feb. 7 edition. 

One nominee was not reported favorably:

  • Jessica Clarke, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York

Confirmations

The Senate has confirmed one new nominee since our Feb. 7 issue.

Vacancies

The federal judiciary currently has 80 vacancies, 78 of which are for lifetime Article III judgeships. As of publication, there were 26 pending nominations.

According to the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, there were 37 upcoming vacancies in the federal judiciary, where judges have announced their intention to leave active status.

For more information on judicial vacancies during the Biden administration, click here.

Note: This chart is updated at the start of each month with the latest vacancy data from U.S. Courts

Do you love judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? We figured you might. Our monthly Federal Vacancy Count monitors all the faces and places moving in, moving out, and moving on in the federal judiciary. Click here for our most current count.

Need a daily fix of judicial nomination, confirmation, and vacancy information? Click here for continuing updates on the status of all federal judicial nominees.

Or, keep an eye on our list for updates on federal judicial nominations.

Spotlight: Presidential nominations to federal courts

Hello, gentle readers! Welcome back to our journey through federal judicial history. Today, we get a two-for-one as we highlight President Grover Cleveland’s (D) judicial nominees from 1885 to 1889 and 1893 to 1897.

During his time in office, the U.S. Senate confirmed 44 of President Cleveland’s judicial nominees—17 in his first term, and 27 in his second term. Two nominees were withdrawn. The Senate rejected or did not vote on eight nominees.

Among the most notable appointees were four Supreme Court Justices:

Looking ahead

We’ll be back on Feb. 28 with a new edition of Robe & Gavel. Until then, gaveling out! 

Contributions

Kate Carsella compiled and edited this newsletter, with contributions from Brittony Maag, Jace Lington, and Sara Reynolds.